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Easy as Pie

Elaine Midcoh (a pen name) lives in Florida. Her sci-fi story, "The Battle of Donasi," was published in the "Writers of the Future, Volume 37" anthology and her story, "Man on the Moon," was the grand prize winner of the 2022 Jim Baen Memorial Short Story Award. Another of her stories will appear in Compelling Science Fiction (Flame Tree Press), an anthology to be released later this year. Her fiction has been published online by Flash Fiction Magazine, The Sunlight Press, and JewishFiction.net. Before jumping into writing, she worked as an attorney and college professor where she spent many happy years teaching law. These days you can often find her at her kitchen table, where she eats, writes, and gazes out the window to watch squirrels, ducks, and blue jays.

"You can't be right," she said. They were sitting at their kitchen table, the remnants of their meatloaf dinner already wrapped in tin foil. His gray hair was lit by the sun's rays streaming through the window. She sliced off another piece of peach pie and held it out to him, but he shook his head no.
"Do the math," he said. "You're as good a physicist as me."
She speared a huge peach chunk with her fork and plopped it in her mouth, slightly muffling her voice. "So it's really the end of the world?" she asked.
He nodded. "Uh-huh. We've got five days, four hours--" He peered up at the ceramic clock hanging on the wall--"and thirty-two minutes. Then it's bam-wham, out for the count, just like the dinosaurs, only faster." He dipped his pinky into the pie's whipped cream, extracted a long, deep scoop and licked it clean.
"Who'd you tell?" she asked.
He shrugged. "So far, just you. What do you think we should do?"
She glanced around the kitchen. Her eyes paused on the refrigerator door, covered with forty years of photographs; the children, vacations, their first house, grandkids, the tulips from her garden, their old dog, Buzzy, and other long-gone pets.
She stabbed her fork again snaring another thick peach piece. "I think we should get more pie," she said.
The End
This story was first published on Monday, September 12th, 2022


Author Comments

So often "end of the world" stories focus on the heroic efforts to ensure survival, if not of the main character, then of those whom he/she/they cares about. Yet, in real life, our own end of the world moments are quite different. Sometimes we experience it when we are in danger of losing a loved one or when circumstances force us to face our own mortality. When it happens, we are often powerless--there is no hero to save us, there is nothing to be done. I wanted to write an end of the world story that reflects what happens in real life. How do you handle the looming end of your world? The woman in my story offers an answer. For as long as you can, as much as you can, enjoy what is possible. Have some pie.

- Elaine Midcoh
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